2. Qiddiya entertainment city

Earlier this year, a ceremony was held to lay the foundation stone for Saudi Arabia's entertainment megaproject, the Qiddiya city. The 334km2 project – to be built 40km from capital city, Riyadh – is 100 times the size of Central Park, and will attract 17 million visitors by 2030.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, patronised the project's foundation ceremony on 28 April, 2018. 

Michael Reininger, chief executive officer (CEO) of the project, said the development would feature facilities such as amusement parks, game cities, racing fields, and safaris. 

Additional planned facilities include toy cities, recreation centres and sports facilities, training academies, desert and asphalt tracks for motor sports enthusiasts, water and snow recreation activities, outdoor adventure spaces, and safari and nature experiences, as well as historical, cultural and scientific activities.

Qiddiya will also include shopping centres, restaurants, cafés, hotels, and real estate projects. The development will be based on five major themes, including parks and attractions, mobility, nature and the environment, sports, and health, culture, arts, and education.

At the time of its launch, Saudi Arabia’s press agency said Qiddiya would target the seven million people that are based 40km from the project site, creating an "untapped market" for international investors. 

Qiddiya  is one of three major projects that the Public Investment Fund (PIF) is developing under the leadership of its chairman, HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Crown Prince, Vice President of the Council of Ministers, and Minister of Defense of Saudi Arabia. Other developments include the Red Sea tourism development, and Neom, a mega-city driven by innovation.

This May, the project was established as a closed joint-stock company. On this development, Reininger commented: “Incorporation is a key milestone as we move from planning to performance.

“As a fully independent entity, we will draft our own budget and re-commit ourselves to our responsibilities, as we move forward with this project that has the potential to enrich the lives of all Saudis.”